by Max Brantley
My Republican friends alert me to recent posts on Powerline, the unhinged but influential right-wing blog.
In one, the blog tries to figure out the Halter-Lincoln drama, particularly where D.C. Morrison voters will go in the runoff.
The conventional wisdom may be that Halter has the edge with these voters, based on anti-incumbent sentiment. On the other hand, Morrison was the most conservative of the three Democrats, so his supporters -- or at least those who focused on the issues -- may have a tough time voting for the liberal Halter.
The wild card is Republican voters. It's believed that many voted in the Democratic primary yesterday because that's where the excitement was, and because the Republican party is still so weak in Arkansas that many down-ticket races are decided in the Democratic primary (having Mike Huckabee as governor for all those years didn't help the party much because Huckabee didn't care much about the party).
These Republicans voters will have the opportunity to participate in the Democrats' run-off. Will they vote for Lincoln because she's less of a leftist or for Halter on the theory (possibly misguided) that he'll be easier to beat?
More relevant given Powerline's audience is a big throw-down on Steve Womack, the ticket leader in the Republican primary race to succeed Rep. John Boozman in the 3rd District. OK, they get Womack's name wrong. But they call him a RINO, a dirtier word to a Repub than teabagger is to one of the loud loonies afoot in the land. Powerline is backing Cecile Bledsoe, big-time. They rip Womack for 2006 support for Mike Beebe. For slowness in signing Grover Norquist's blood oath to oppose taxes no matter how badly the country needs them. For supporting community health centers.
Cecile Bledsoe is everything Womack is not. As a state legislator, her steadfast opposition to tax increases caused then-governor Mike Huckabee to call her, among others, a "Shiite." That's probably as good of an endorsement as there is. However, she has also been endorsed by Asa Hutchinson, the conservative who represented the Third District for a while, and by the Susan B. Anthony List (that's the group to which Sarah Palin delivered her "mama grizzlies" speech last week).
Let's you and him fight. Womack suddenly sounds a whole lot better. (That should be the kiss of death for him.)